The first international Test match on New Zealand soil in over two years has officially sold out.
Saturday 25 June will see Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium at full capacity as the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns face Pacific rivals Mate Ma’a Tonga.
Over 26,000 fans will pack out Mt Smart to celebrate the return of Test match footy to Aotearoa’s shores and the return of the biggest rivalry in international rugby league.
The sold-out crowd goes a long way towards helping NZRL achieve a new world record crowd attendance for a women’s rugby league match, which currently sits at 18,000.
The Kiwi Ferns take on Tonga at 3:10pm while the Kiwis face MMT at 5:20pm.
“This is a historic occasion for rugby league,” says NZRL CEO Greg Peters.
“To celebrate the return of international rugby league to Aotearoa with a sell-out crowd is something special.
“This is a momentous occasion for fans, players, and our rugby league communities across the country,” he adds.
“It’s been a long time between drinks and a long time since a Test match sell out. What an occasion Saturday will be, one for the history books.
“Welcome back rugby league.”
15 June 2022
Nineteen players have been selected for the upcoming Kiwi Ferns clash against Tonga on June 25 (3.10 pm kick-off) NZT at Mount Smart Stadium.
The long-awaited June Test will be the Kiwi Ferns’ first appearance at home after a two-year Covid hiatus.
Included in the Ricky Henry coached side is a mix of fresh talent from the NRLW and Sky Sport Women’s Premiership, while experienced internationals make a return.
Māori All-Stars front-rower Mya Hill-Moana gets the call-up after her impressive 2021 NRLW Premiership win with the Roosters.
Sydney teammate and seasoned Kiwi Fern Raecene McGregor also cements her place; the three-time NRLW Premiership winner is joined by her sister Page McGregor who featured in this year’s Grand Final for the Dragons.
Young Titan’s centre Hailee-Jay Maunsell, who stood out in last year’s QRL Harvey Norman U19 competition, earns her debut selection. The 18-year-old was a part of the future Titans programme and was later promoted to the NRLW after making a lasting impression.
Australian rugby union 2016 Olympic gold medallist and Bronco Amy Turner receives her debut selection alongside fellow teammate Roxy Murdoch-Masila.
From the 2022 NZRL Sky Sport Women’s Premiership, the competition’s MVP Laishon Albert-Jones gets her maiden call-up after playing a crucial role in Akarana’s first Premiership title in 11 years.
Te Atatu duo Katelyn Vahaakolo and Karli Hansen were also named; both earned their Kiwi Ferns debut against Fetu Samoa in 2020, resulting in NRLW call-ups for the 2021 season.
2020 Kiwi Fern Rookie of the Year and Newcastle Knight Autumn-Rain Stephens Daly returns to the frame alongside Manurewa Marlin Christyl Stowers and seasoned Kiwi Fern’s Captain Krystal Rota.
Leading 2021 NRLW try-scorer Madison Bartlett was named following an impressive six tries for the Dragons this season. Former Veronica White medallist and 2020 Young New Zealander of the Year Georgia Hale and Gisborne-born Paramatta play-maker Nita Maynard also return.
After an impressive NRLW season with the Newcastle Knights, Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the year, Annetta-Claudia Nu’uausala is locked in, as are her former Knights teammates, Ngatokorua Arakua, Kararaina Wira-Kohu and Charlotte Scanlan. Nu’uausala recently signed with the Brisbane Broncos.
“We’ve listed a group of individuals that have rightfully earned their spots, and we acknowledge them for their efforts in both the NRLW competition and Sky Sport Women’s Premiership,” Henry said.
“We welcome five new players to the team who I’m confident will flourish under our veteran leaders; we also see the return of some key names from our 2020 Test against Samoa, this time with debut NRLW seasons under their belt.
“This Tonga Test allows us to build a solid foundation ahead of the Rugby League World Cup come October. It’s been nearly two years since we have donned the Black and White jersey, so this Test back home in front of whānau and fans Is going to be special.”
Purchase tickets to the June double-header as NZRL aims to break the world record for a women’s rugby league crowd attendance.
For tickets to Kiwi Ferns v MMT, June 25th at Mt Smart Stadium please click here.
3:10pm NZT Kiwi Ferns v Tonga
5:20pm NZT Kiwis v MMT
June 14, 2022
In anticipation of the June 25th New Zealand v Tonga double header, NZRL and Tonga Rugby League will host ‘Coming Together’ – Whakakotahi | Fakatahataha, 4:00pm Wednesday 22nd June at Otahuhu Rugby League Club.
This community event celebrates the return of rugby league to Aotearoa’s shores as the teams unite with fans before doing battle next Saturday at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium.
Fans are encouraged to get down to Otahuhu Rugby League club to see their favourite players and win a bunch of cool MMT, Kiwis & Kiwi Ferns prizes.
NZRL will announce which players will be in attendance next week.
Due to strict NRL covid protocols, unfortunately, there can be no direct player and fan interaction e.g, photos with players or signing sessions. However, fans can have a front-row seat to our own NZ v Mate Ma’a Tonga footy show with endless prizes and signed merch to giveaway.
Get down to Otahuhu Rugby League club next Wednesday afternoon to see your Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns and Mate Ma’a Tonga Men and Women, and be a part of all the action as we celebrate the return of Test match rugby league to Aotearoa.
Coming Together – Whakakotahi | Fakatahataha is supported by the Local Activation Fund Programme and/or Discount Programme, administered by Auckland Unlimited on behalf of the New Zealand Government.
Whakakotahi | Fakatahataha
Wednesday, June 22
Otahuhu Rugby League Club
From 3:30pm – 5:00pm